Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders
In this episode of 'Born to Kill?', narrator, Christopher Slade, chronicles the warped life and times of mannered murderer, Charles Manson. Now to aide Christopher with his oration, on display are a select number of video-clips, archived photography, audio inserts, as well as one on one interview's with people familiar with 'Manson Family' murder spree. For example, there's the Author: Simon Wells; Physiologist: Joel Fort; Police Officers: Robert Burbidge, Mike McGann and Frank Salerno; Prosecutor: Vincent Bugliosi; Criminologists: Louis Schlesinger, Dr. David Smith, and Sandra Gibson; plus Acquaintances: Barbra Hoyt and Philip Kaufman.
What now follows is a basic break-down of how this program plays out:
is Charles Manson? Charles Milles Manson was born on
the 12th of November, 1934, to an unmarried 16-year old girl called Kathleen Maddox. Allegedly his biological farther was a black chief called 'Colonel Scott', although Kathleen had alluded to her eventual husband -- labourer, William Mason -- that it was a 'Colonel Walker Scott' from Kentucky.
- What was his early life like? Well, not too good if truth be told. After his mother became an alcoholic and was sent to prison for robbing a service station, Charles spent the majority of his life either in a 'boys home' or in prison, due to the fact that he himself started robbing and fighting on the streets. Also, whilst at the aforementioned 'place of care', Charles stated that he had been molested too.
- Did Charles ever try to change his life around? Yes. For a short while in 1955, he married a hospital waitress named Rosalie Jean Willis, until he was arrested again for stealing a car and pimping whilst his wife was pregnant. She divorced Charles when he was incarcerated.
- What were Charles major crimes? When he was released from prison in 1967, Charles became a guru in San Francisco, predicting that an impending race war was looming after hearing some of the songs on the Beatles 'White Album' (most notably 'Helter Skelter'). Now this led him to form a coalition of like-minded people that would commence a killing spree, so they could then blame this ghastly act on a Negro uprising.
- Who were some of Mason's accomplices?
Theresa Brunner -- born
the 17th of December, 1943
DentonWatson -- born the 2nd of December, 1945
Dianne Krenwinkel -- born the 3rd of
December 3, 1947
Kenneth "Bobby" Beausoleil -- born
the 6th of November, 1947
Denise Atkins -- born
the 7th of May, 1948
Alice Fromme -- born
the 22nd of October, 1948
Louise Van Houten -- born the 23rd of
August 23, 1949
Kasabian -- born
the 21st of June, 1949
Dennis Grogan -- born the 24th of
May 24, 1952
- Who were their known victims?
June 25th, 1969: Gary Hinman -- a drug dealer stabbed to death in his own home. August 8th, 1969: Roman Polanski's pregnant actress wife, Sharon Tate. Hairstylist, Jay Sebring. Screenwriter, Wojciech Frykowski. Frykowski's lover, Abigail Folger. And Steven Earl Parent -- all of them brutalized to death in and around Polanski's mansion. August 9th, 1969: Supermarket executive, Leno LaBianca, and his wife, Rosemary, who owned a dress shop -- killed in a similar manner as Masons previous victims.
- How did Masons 'convert' his accomplices? Firstly, he chose likeminded individuals who had a similar chequered-history he had. Secondly, he'd ply them with drugs, and persuaded them to see things as he did with bold bravado and unified rhetoric. And thirdly, once they were eventually in his control, he'd fire them at his intended target -- no holds barred.
- How were they caught? Sometime after this series of brutal murderers were committed, one of Manson's free-spirited followers, Susan Atkins, inadvertently spilt the beans whilst she was in prison, resulting in the 'Manson Family' being caught and sent to prison for life.
Boy-oh-boy-oh-boy! I don't know if I can do this or not. I don't know if I have the words within me to surmise what I feel about what I saw on 'Born To Kill? Charles Manson'.
Now please don't get me wrong dear reader, this doesn't have anything to do with the documentary itself. As always this 'real-life crime program' is just engrossing to watch through and through. Rather, my dilemma is associated with its contents, and if I am able to understand why 'Charlie and his crazy comrades' killed those poor people because... because... because... err... see what I mean?
Well, to a degree, I suppose I can understand the feeling of 'hate', plus how this brash emotion can make you do some strange things if it isn't kept in check properly. Also, I can understand how a 'bad upbringing' can warp your perception at times, making your outlook less optimistic than the norm. However, what I don't get is why the 'Manson Family' just did whatever Charlie told them to do -- even kill! And why the hell Charlie wanted to get back at 'those people' who he thought did him wrong, by ordering such a dreadful series of acts against people who didn't!
If I don't like you -- I say that I don't like you. If I know that something I'm doing is wrong -- I don't do it. And no matter how persuasive a person might be, I never just take their word at face value -- no matter who it is.
Alright, so on a certain level you can say that drugs addled all of their brains somewhat. Fair enough. And I suppose on another level you can say that a need for some direction to their lives curbed their awareness as well. But murder for the sake of hatred and malice? No. I don't buy it myself. No matter how mixed up and deluded a person is -- unless they are completely cuckoo -- I will never understand why one person will butcher someone else for the sake of tokenary.
Now I can't top that now, can I? Nuff said dear reader. Nuff said.